Strandhotel Ahlbeck is located on the island of Usedom near the Polish border. Also the menu of the PRIME Restaurant, the highest resturant on the island at a height of 30 m, benefits from the influence of both cultures. With this background in mind, chef de cuisine Martin Weber and sous-chef Krystian Popiolek have created a very special Easter menu that promises taste across borders.
Sous-chef Krystian Popiolek is a native Pole and therefore a master in preparing typical Polish dishes. In Poland, Easter Sunday is the most important day of the year - it is even more important than Christmas. On this day, almost every family eats Zurek, a particularly nutritious flour soup based on a sourdough broth. The soup's name is derived from the term Żur, which in turn comes from the German word sauer (meaning sour). Sous-chef Popiolek reveals how to prepare a particularly tasty version of this Polish classic:
- 100 g cracked rye
- 500 ml warm water
- 300 g Weisswurst (Bavarian white sausage)
- 1 bunch of greens for soup
- 500 ml fermented cracked rye
- 1.5 l water
- 1 slice of lemon, with zest (untreated)
- 2 garlic cloves
- 100 ml sour cream
- 6 eggs
- 1 onion
- 500 g potatoes
Preparation of the sourdough:
- Put the cracked rye in a weck jar and pour warm water over it.
- Puncture small holes in a sheet of baking parchment and cover the jar with it. Fix the paper to the rim of the jar with a string or a rubber band. Leave the sourdough to ferment in a warm place for 2-3 days.
Preparation of the soup:
- Slice the sausage and fry in an oiled pan.
- Clean the soup vegetables and put them in a pot together with the potatoes and the sausage slices. Fill the pot with water, add salt and leave to boil for 1 hour.
- Hard-boil the eggs, leave to cool and then cut into quarters.
- Dice the onion and fry until golden-brown in the same pan previously used to fry the sausage.
- Remove the greens and the potatoes from the pot, pour in the sourdough and add the lemon slice.
- Put some marjoram and the garlic cloves in a pot and bring to the boil for 5 minutes.
- In the meantime, slice the potatoes and remove the lemon slice again.
- Mix the sour cream with some soup to prevent coagulation and add it to the pot.
- Place a quartered egg and some potatoes on each soup plate and fill it up with the Zurek. Sprinkle with the fried onions.
Pro tip: For an appealing presentation, the Zurek is best served in a hollowed-out bread loaf. A feast for the stomach should also be a feast for the eyes!
This Polish delicacy is followed by a traditional German Easter classic. To chef Martin Weber, the lamb as an Easter symbol respresents life. "This dish has accompanied me for more than 20 years already. It is as simple as it is tasty", he says, explaining his passion for this main dish. And this is how you will master the preparation of an Easter lamb like a pro:
Braised lamb shank with a rosemary-mint sauce, bundled beans with bacon and potato strudel
For the lamb:
- 4 pieces of lamb shank (350 g each)
- 1 bundle of greens for soup
- 200 ml red wine
- 500 ml lamb stock from a jar
- 2 cloves
- 2 bay leaves
- salt and pepper to season
For the potato strudel:
- ready-made strudel dough
- 1 kg floury potatoes
- 150 g diced pork belly
- 20 g butter
- 500 ml sour cream
- salt and pepper to season
For the beans:
- 600 g green beans
- 8 slices of bacon
- salt and pepper to season
- Pre-heat the oven to 180 °C (fan oven: 160 °C)
- Wash and clean the vegetables, peel the onion and dice roughly.
- Wash the lamb shanks and pat dry. Season with salt and pepper. Then sauté in hot oil from all sides in a roasting pan.
- Add the vegetables and sauté with the meat.
- Deglaze with the wine and the stock, add the vegetables and let everything braise in the oven for approx. 90 minutes.
- In the meantime, peel the potatoes and use a grater to cut them into thin slices. Cover with cold water.
- Sauté the pork belly and add the dry-squeezed potatoes. Briefly toss and season.
- Roll out the strudel dough on a kitchen towel and spread with the sour cream. Spread the potato and bacon filling over a good half of the dough and roll it up the using the kitchen towel.
- Bake on a baking tray at approx. 200 °C for 30 minutes.
- Wash the beans and cut off the ends.
- Bring salted water to the boil in a big pot. Add the beans and cook for approx. 8 minutes with the lid on until al dente.
- Rinse the beans with cold water and drain in a sieve.
- Divide the beans into 8 portions and tightly wrap them with the bacon. Season with salt and pepper on all sides.
- Heat the butter in a pan and add the beans with the bacon seam-side down.
- Fry the bundles until crispy on all sides and keep warm in the oven until the lamb and the strudel are ready to serve, if necessary.
What would a perfect menu be without the perfect dessert? Here is our cooking pros' tasty recipe that rounds off the menu in the best possible way:
- 10 eggs
- 200 g sugar
- juice of half a lemon
- vanilla sugar
- 250 ml condensed milk or cream
- 500 ml cognac or vodka - according to personal taste, you may also increase the dose according to your liking
- Whisk the egg yolks with the sifted sugar in a bowl and gradually pour in the cream.
- Place the bowl in a warm bain-marie and beat with a hand mixer set to the lowest speed until the mixture is thick and creamy.
- Place the bowl in iced water and keep beating the mixture until cooled down.
- Remove the bowl from the iced water and trickle the cognac or water into the bowl. Stir well until foamy.
- Use a funnel to pour the eggnog into prepared bottles or carafes.
Pro tip: Store the eggnog in a cool and dry place. It is ready to taste after 2 days. Shake the bottle well before serving and use up opened bottles quickly. The eggnog is best enjoyed chilled.
Be it in Germany, Poland or elsewhere - with these mouth-watering delights, Easter can only become a success! The entire team of Strandhotel Ahlbeck wishes you a happy Easter and looks forward to cooking for you again soon on the island of Usedom.
Editor: Bea Lehofer